Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
How did it all end up going so wrong for John Ferguson Jr.?
It is a question he himself must address with some honesty and some distance if he hopes to work again as a National Hockey League general manager.
Ferguson’s run—five-years, one lockout and parts of four seasons—was long enough for him to have every opportunity to succeed with the Maple Leafs. But he stumbled in his introductory press conference and that foreshadowed the hockey seasons that would follow.
added 7:02am, from Howard Berger of Fan590,
And, though almost all of the momentum is on the side of Fletcher returning, the deal must clear some important hurdles. They include:
*A monetary provision that will allow Fletcher to virtually off-set the $300,000 salary he is still earning, this season and next, from the Phoenix Coyotes.
*A deal without the so-called ”interim” tag. Though every person hired by a hockey team is essentially on an interim arrangement, it is believed Fletcher has little enthusiasm for a short-term fix. He is looking to assume a presidential-type role, with full authority to hire the next general manager of the Maple Leafs.
from the Toronto Star,
There is nothing carved in stone with that scenario – Fletcher, who was first approached by the Leafs early last week, vacationed in Mexico the past seven days. Some key figures on the board were also vacationing and when all parties are back in business mode, it’s expected a deal for Fletcher will be done.
It’s believed the board’s desire is to have Fletcher on board in time to establish a game plan for the trade deadline Feb.26.
He would then assess the current roster and prepare for the entry draft in June.
However, with the NHL all-star game and festivities slated this weekend, Ferguson should learn his fate within the next two days, if not sooner.
Pat Quinn via George Gross of the Toronto Sun,
“Obviously, so far, I haven’t done a good job adjusting. However, if I were approached by the Leafs, I’d have to think about it. Mind you, I can’t imagine that they would approach me, but I can tell you that working for the Maple Leafs was the highlight of my hockey career.
“I sincerely hope that they straighten out their problems. I feel badly about the Toronto situation. I have an affection for some of the players and some people in the organization.”
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
The Leafs could even do worse than consider former NHL Players Association head Bob Goodenow, who would probably make an excellent GM. He knows the ins and outs of the collective bargaining agreement, having helped write it. He’s a Harvard-educated lawyer and he understands hockey. He has successfully run a billion-dollar organization and spent a good portion of his life in Toronto.
more suggestions for the Leafs…
from the CP,
Cliff Fletcher was busy returning phone calls Tuesday.
Friends, family and media filled up his voice mail after a report Monday night said the Toronto Maple Leafs had contacted him about taking over the team as an interim GM for the remainder of the season.
“I have no comment whatsoever on it,” Fletcher told The Canadian Press from his home in Scottsdale, Ariz. “They have a management team in place. It would be inappropriate for me to say anything.
“Although I can tell you that (wife) Linda and I tomorrow morning are on our way to Mexico for a week. We’re on the plane to Cancun for sure.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
...this is one time when the obvious choice for someone to run the ship is also the right one — Scotty Bowman, who briefly flirted with the Leafs in August, but Monday retreated from remarks he made on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday and reiterated that his commitment is to the Detroit Red Wings, where he is a senior consultant.
To think that Bowman would jump ship in midseason was a mostly irrational hope anyway. The time to woo him again is this summer, after the current season ends and the business of hockey takes centre stage.
From Bob McKenzie at TSN,
The beleaguered Toronto Maple Leafs are taking steps to try to replace general manager John Ferguson Jr.
Sources tell TSN that the Leafs have contacted a number of hockey management types to gauge their interest in the job, which is currently held by Ferguson, and, in fact, have asked former Leaf GM Cliff Fletcher if he is interested in taking over as interim GM of the NHL club.
Cliff Fletcher could not be reached for comment. Fletcher remains under contract to the Phoenix Coyotes even though he is no longer working for the organization.
*hat tip to Puckhound61 for linking to this in the forums
via Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
Finally, a note to fans of the Lightning, Leafs, and Kings: It. Is. Over.
Miracles are never completely out of the question, but thanks to the NHL’s unbalanced schedule, there is virtually no possibility whatsoever Tampa Bay, Toronto or Los Angeles can leapfrog the five or six teams in front of them to secure a playoff berth. Let the firings and/or fire sales begin.
I could probably update KK every five minutes with Leafs talk, but instead of becomming a Leafs “heavy” site, I started a thread in the KK Forum for Toronto talk.
Feel free to add to it if you find something that may be of interest to KK readers.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Perhaps, MLSE steals a page from the Dallas Stars playbook and swaps experience for celebrity?
With no obvious candidate available or interested at the moment, primarily because of the current structure of the hockey department, why wouldn’t the Leafs look within?
With guidance from an experienced man like Maple Leafs assistant general manager and director of player personnel, Mike Penny, former Leafs captain Doug Gilmour might be able to bridge the gap.
Gilmour would instantly grab headlines and similar to Brett Hull’s appointment in Dallas, Gilmour might be able to provide a short term public relations spin.
My personal, gut feeling, Scotty Bowman will end up in Toronto, even though all published reports do not indicate that.
added 11:43am, from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
What is even more embarrassing for this Original Six franchise is, even in the face of this free fall, ownership is so paralyzed by its constant infighting and lack of direction that it appears powerless to react.
When players pull the chute and lose 11 of 13, as the Leafs have done at a crucial juncture of the season, a normal team’s owner will come down from his/her perch and fire either the GM or coach or both, or mandate a dramatic change in player personnel.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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